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Regrets - Livin' the Good Life

Jun. 9th, 2012

12:27 pm - Regrets

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Our high school class is having a reunion this summer, and though I will not be attending, the prospect gives me pause to reflect on my high school experience. It was mostly good. I learned a lot and did well academically. I had some top notch teachers and some loyal friends. One of my English teachers set me on a track of lifelong writing, for which I am forever grateful. In general, I was treated well by my classmates. The worst treatment I received was indifference. I found my group of friends, and stayed securely in their social safety net. It was a comfortable life.

But, for others... well, they were not so lucky.
I received a group email from a former classmate who I hadn't heard about in all these years. He said we probably wouldn't remember him. He told us about his life up until now, and it sounded slightly depressing, but he had been somewhat successful, and he wanted us to know that. I experienced a flood of shame and regret when I read his email, because he had been BULLIED and PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY TORTURED thoughout junior high and high school. I'd always felt horrible about it. I wished I could stop it, but I felt unable to do anything to help. I guess I was a coward. I probably thought I didn't have enough social influence to make a difference. Whatever the reason, I still to this day, feel bad about it. So, when he reached out to our class in that email, I felt compelled to write back. Here's what I wrote:

"Dear .....,
I remember you well, and, I must confess, with some shame. I want to publicly apologize to you for the ongoing bullying and harrassment that you suffered at the hands of the class of '67. And though I was not directly involved, I stood silently by. For that, I am truly embarrassed. I am so, SO sorry, my friend. I hope you have come to forgive us our immaturity. I'm sure that, as a whole, we are a much nicer people now."

Bullying and torturing others is just NOT OK. And I wish there was a way to "nip it in the bud" in the school setting, where it is so prevelant. My adult children tell me that things had not changed during their stints in school.

Lord, we need serious intervention.


Date:June 11th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
How could he not be humbled and appreciative of your very sweet apology letter...Did you hear back from him? How horribly sad that he has been carrying that around all of these years.

I hear much about bullying, mostly on the news these days. But I have to say I really don't know what they are talking about. I've never been exposed to it, never seen it, don't know anyone who has gone through it. I'm not doubting its existence at all...I just wonder if I'm oblivious.

My HS reunion is this summer also. I haven't decided if I want to go or not. I wish I could go and be invisible...just take it all in without risking going right back into that high school mentality. Or is that even a possibility at our age?

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Date:June 11th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
GH, Really?? Did you go to a public high school? There were at least three kids (that I was aware of) who suffered severe torturing in my class alone. And I went to a "rich kids school". They were beaten up. But, mainly they were tormented by cruel psychological games. I watched in horror.
Ask your boys if they witnessed stuff like this at school. There is a movie out called "Bully" which is a documentary on bullying. I plan to see it. Also, you've surely heard of school shootings and suicides in recent years. Those were usually the result of bullying.
I'm glad you were spared having to witness that growing up.
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Date:June 11th, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I found that much of that high school mentality was missing from the reunions. They were all just now-mature adults who had been through the tempering fire of living and all seemed nice and friendly. I still didn't feel like I had much in common with them though.
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